Gaia - the idea of life on earth as a single, self-sustaining system - is a big idea for the twenty-first century. It can help to provide solutions for many of the large problems which conventional politics is failing top address, from global warming to mental health and well-being. So why has its significance often been missed by scientists, decision-makers, intellectuals and the media?
Mary Midgley sets out the scientific and intellectual origins of Gaian thinking, showing how it presents a deep challenge to the conceptual structures which guide our everyday thinking and behaviour.
In particular, Midgley argues, the tendency of modern science to present itself as an inert store of neutral, 'objective' facts obscures the reality that scientific thinking has profound moral and social implications. It makes assumptions rooted in an Enlightenment view of the world which separated humans from the world they inhabit, obscuring the connections between rational thought, imagination and feeling.
The result is that we are trapped in a narrow, individualistic view of society drawn from the seventeenth century, and that this view prevents us from thinking beyond recent theories of neo-Darwinism. Midgley argues that even if the scientific foundation of such accounts is correct, we should not accept their apparent implications for social relations and moral obligation.
This pamphlet sets a new moral agenda which will help to change the way we think about ourselves and the planet. It has important implications for public policy, from the governance of science to roads and car tax.
CONDITION: Very minor corner fold to front cover otherwise very good. Clean and bright throughout. No inscriptions or notations.